American Justice Notebook

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Former Elementary Teacher Guilty of Possessing Child Pornography

            SANTA ANA, California 

A former Orange County elementary school teacher and high school wrestling coach pleaded guilty Monday to possessing child pornography, officials stated. 

This included at least one video portraying masochistic sexual conduct involving a child.

            Richard O’Connor, 45, of Anaheim, pleaded guilty to one count of possession of child pornography.

            O’Connor formerly was employed as a fourth-grade teacher at and volunteered as a boys’ wrestling coach at Canyon High School, also located in Anaheim. He is not accused of victimizing students.

According to his plea agreement, in October 2022, law enforcement served a federal search warrant on Apple Inc. for the contents of O’Connor’s Apple iCloud account.

            A forensic review of O’Connor’s iCloud account identified at least 81 videos and 158 images of pornography. O’Connor admitted in his plea agreement that several of the videos and images of CSAM in his iCloud account depicted infants or toddlers as well as violent, sadistic, or masochistic conduct.

            O’Connor further admitted in his plea agreement that he knew that at least three of the videos that he possessed depicted minors engaged in sexual conduct. He also admitted to possessing at least one video that portrayed a child engaged in sadistic or masochistic conduct, particularly bondage.

            United States District Judge David O. Carter scheduled a December 18 sentencing hearing. At that time, O’Connor faces up to 20 years in federal prison.

            Federal prosecutors, however, have agreed to recommend that O’Connor be sentenced to a term of imprisonment no more than five years.

            Homeland Security Investigations investigated this case.

            Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa S. Rabbani of the Santa Ana Branch Office is prosecuting this case.